Repowered tugboat takes on bridge maintenance in San Francisco Bay area

The Delores profile

The San Francisco Bay area is one of the world’s finest ports. Ships from around the world enter the Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge. Depending on their destination, they are likely to pass under at least one more of the Bay’s eight toll bridges. Not only do the bridges help both locals and visitors get to the other side of the Bay, but they also allow multiple ships to pass daily to piers throughout the Bay.

These bridges are an invaluable infrastructure that makes commerce possible, but they need regular maintenance to continue their work over the years. Several firms in the Bay area have developed the expertise and equipment to get this work done. With a multi-generational history in the Bay, Capt. Ron Greger has assembled a functional collection of specialized equipment in this role.

Golden State Bridge, a bridge building and maintenance contractor headquartered in Benicia, California, with President Mr. Dave Riccitiello. Riccitiello approached Ron Greger, owner, and operator of several vessels in the Bay Area, to develop an additional hull for the bridge maintenance business. The San Francisco maritime community is built on developed relationships. Riccitiello and Greger have been doing business since 1998, when Golden State Bridge chartered Greger’s first tugs, the ex-Crowley Trojan.

In their latest cooperation, Greger’s firm gave one of his support-tugs an extensive rebuild. The 50 by 15-foot Delores, with a shallow five-foot draft, had originally been hull built by Greger in 2015. Now he installed a pair of keel-cooled, six-cylinder, Cummins, EPA Tier 3, X15 engines,

The new Cummins X15 engines in the Delores’ engine room.
The new Cummins X15 engines in the Delores’ engine room.

 each producing 450 hp continuous duty, at 1800 RPM. Fitted with Vulkan couplings, the engines turn five by 180-inch shafts through ZF 350-1 (W350) gears with 4:1 reduction. The four-blade props are 40 by 40-inch.

Greger also added a Northern Lights 25 kW set. Above the deck; a functional deck house with a basic galley and storage. An elevated wheelhouse was added to provide good operator visibility over the push knees. Most of the boat’s work will involve the push knees forward with Patterson deck winches. An additional H-bitt is mounted on the aft deck. a smart looking new workhorse that is registered built in 2022.

A stern view of Delores showing a clear working deck with a towing bitt.
A stern view of Delores showing a clear working deck with a towing bitt.

With the Delores outfitted and inspected by the coast guard and issued a certificate of inspection and freshly painted, she went right to work for Riccitello’s Golden State Bridge a company doing maintenance repairs on the San Mateo Bridge. Opened in 1967 the 36,960-foot bridge connects the San Francisco Peninsula on the west to the mainland to the east. The highest span provides 134.5-feet of air draft.

Alan Haig-Brown

Alan Haig-Brown

Over 30 years as an author for global commercial marine and fishing publications backed with hands-on experience on commercial fishing boats and coastal freighters makes Alan Haig-Brown uniquely qualified to provide vessel reference articles for Cummins Marine. You can find him in shipyards around the world, and on his own website,

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